Tag: winter beaters

Used Car Review – 1999 Saab 9-3 SE

Image by OSX via Wikimedia, Public Domain
Image by OSX via Wikimedia, Public Domain

In the bleak mid-winter I found myself looking for something that would be able to make it through the rest of the winter without breaking the bank, or my daily: a BMW E39. When flipping through the automotive classifieds. Seeing as I have lived my entire life in Rochester, and having contributed to our Winter Beater Blog: I knew i wanted something squat, front wheel drive, and possibly Scandinavian. It is at that point when I found an ad for a 1999 Saab 9-3 SE for a mere $1200 and decided to abide by the first law of car searching: “Thou shall always take a look.”

What I found was a little bit worse than what I expected, which was then confirmed by a GM Master Check via a Surfwrench Used Car Check. I ended up passing on my chance to buy this “jet fighter on wheels” but not before putting through its paces, and having a great bit of fun.

The 1999 Saab 9-3 SE is a GM made, Swedish designed, small-executive car offering a 2-liter turbocharged inline 4 cylinder engine producing 200 HP. Right away, I could tell that there were issues with the turbo charger. It wasn’t coming from a lack of power, rather an excess of heat that was building up, which was then causing a lack of power. When something is overheating in the winter, there is usually a fairly sizable problem. I discussed it with the seller and he said that the car always did that, which told me that it had been neglected for quite some time. Other than that, when the car was cold, it was a good drive: the power delivery was nice and the handling was also very squat, square, and “chunky”. It never felt heavy, but it did feel very solid- this isn’t a terribly heavy car, but you can tell that it is well built—sturdy. Continue reading “Used Car Review – 1999 Saab 9-3 SE”

The Winter Beater: The Backbone of Upstate NY Winters


At time of writing this, it’s the very beginning the first major snowfall of the season. Snow, as it turns out, is the great equalizer, the force of nature that sends the nicer cars scurrying for their car covers in the back of the garage. The amalgamation of cold, salt, and lower coefficients of friction that makes most of us shelve the cars that carry our favor, and instead rely upon ones that don’t. In this article we are going to talk about the unsung hero of the winter season: the winter beater. We are going to pay tribute to some of the better winter beaters out there, give you an idea of what to look for when buying one, and some of the reasons why you should.

Winter Beater Theory

A simple search will turn up no less than 10,000 articles about winter beaters, and some of the favorite makes and models that people throw around in the snow in lieu of destroying their nicer, summer car. There are good reasons for this. Some cars are just naturally made for this weather: old XJ Jeeps and Subaru’s that are cheap and plentiful, but have all wheel drive that make them highly sought after prizes for people trying to plow through a Nor’Easter on their way to Wegmans because they forgot the eggs and milk in their last run home from work.

Continue reading “The Winter Beater: The Backbone of Upstate NY Winters”